“10. Aaronic Priesthood Quorums,” General Handbook: Serving in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (2020).
“10. Aaronic Priesthood Quorums,” General Handbook.
Aaronic Priesthood Quorums
Purpose and Organization
The Aaronic Priesthood helps God’s children prepare to return to His presence. It holds “the keys of the ministering of angels, and of the gospel of repentance, and of baptism” (Doctrine and Covenants 13; see also 3.3.2 in this handbook).
Aaronic Priesthood quorums help young men make and keep sacred covenants and deepen their conversion to Jesus Christ and His gospel.
A quorum is an organized group of priesthood holders. The purpose of a quorum is to help priesthood holders work together to accomplish the work of salvation and exaltation. In their quorums, Aaronic Priesthood holders serve others, fulfill priesthood duties, build unity, and learn and live doctrine.
Aaronic Priesthood Quorum Theme
The Aaronic Priesthood quorum theme can help each young man understand his divine identity and his purpose as a priesthood holder. Young men and their leaders repeat the theme at the beginning of quorum meetings and at other quorum gatherings. The theme reads as follows:
“I am a beloved son of God, and He has a work for me to do.
“With all my heart, might, mind, and strength, I will love God, keep my covenants, and use His priesthood to serve others, beginning in my own home.
“As I strive to serve, exercise faith, repent, and improve each day, I will qualify to receive temple blessings and the enduring joy of the gospel.
“I will prepare to become a diligent missionary, loyal husband, and loving father by being a true disciple of Jesus Christ.
“I will help prepare the world for the Savior’s return by inviting all to come unto Christ and receive the blessings of His Atonement.”
The bishop organizes Aaronic Priesthood holders into quorums as described below. (See also Doctrine and Covenants 107:85–88.)
Young men join the deacons quorum beginning in January of the year they turn 12. At this time they are also eligible to be ordained deacons if they are prepared and worthy.
A member of the quorum who is an ordained deacon serves as the quorum president. Where possible, one or two counselors and a secretary may serve with him. The counselors and secretary must also be deacons.
The duties of a deacon are described in Doctrine and Covenants 20:57–59; 84:111. Other duties include passing the sacrament and assisting the bishop in “administering all temporal things” (Doctrine and Covenants 107:68).
Young men join the teachers quorum beginning in January of the year they turn 14. At this time they are also eligible to be ordained teachers if they are prepared and worthy.
A member of the quorum who is an ordained teacher serves as the quorum president. Where possible, one or two counselors and a secretary may serve with him. The counselors and secretary must also be teachers.
Teachers have the same duties as deacons. They also prepare the sacrament and serve as ministering brothers. Additional duties are described in Doctrine and Covenants 20:53–59; 84:111.
Young men join the priests quorum beginning in January of the year they turn 16. At this time they are also eligible to be ordained priests if they are prepared and worthy.
The bishop is the president of the priests quorum (see Doctrine and Covenants 107:87–88). He calls one or two quorum members to serve as his assistants. A secretary may also be called. The assistants and secretary should be ordained priests.
Priests have the same duties as deacons and teachers. Additional duties are described in Doctrine and Covenants 20:46–52, 73–79.
Each quorum is led by a president who holds priesthood keys. The deacons quorum president, teachers quorum president, and bishop hold priesthood keys. For more information about these keys, see 3.4.1.
Adapting Quorums to Local Needs
In a ward or branch with few young men, Aaronic Priesthood quorums may meet together for instruction and activities.
If a ward has more than 12 deacons, the bishop may divide the deacons quorum. The same is true if there are more than 24 teachers (see Doctrine and Covenants 107:85–86). When making this decision, the bishop considers the effect on quorum members.
Participating in the Work of Salvation and Exaltation
God invites all to come unto Christ and assist in His work by:
Living the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Caring for those in need.
Inviting all to receive the gospel.
Uniting families for eternity.
The bishopric and youth quorum leaders, supported by advisers (see 10.5), counsel together about how to accomplish this work. For more information about the work of salvation and exaltation, study chapter 1.
Living the Gospel of Jesus Christ
Roles of Parents and Leaders
Parents are responsible to teach their children the gospel and help them live it (see Doctrine and Covenants 68:25–28). The bishopric and youth quorum leaders, with help from advisers, support parents in this responsibility as follows:
Encourage communication between young men and their families.
Ensure that youth activities support and bless families.
Help parents prepare their sons for priesthood ordinations and to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood.
Help parents prepare their sons for the temple endowment, full-time missionary service, temple marriage, and fatherhood.
Leaders should be sensitive to youth who lack family support for gospel living.
Parents and leaders strive to be good examples to the youth. They mentor youth in their efforts to become more like Jesus Christ. The Children and Youth program can help in these efforts (see ChildrenandYouth.ChurchofJesusChrist.org).
The bishopric, youth quorum leaders, and advisers encourage young men and their families to learn the gospel at home. Leaders and advisers study the gospel and share with the young men what they learn. They invite quorum members to share at church what they are learning at home.
Aaronic Priesthood quorums meet on Sundays to strengthen faith, build unity, strengthen families and homes, and make plans to help accomplish the work of salvation and exaltation. The bishopric and youth quorum leaders, supported by advisers, plan Sunday meetings.
Quorum meetings are held on the second and fourth Sundays of the month. They last 50 minutes. A member of the quorum presidency (or one of the bishop’s assistants in the priests quorum) conducts. He leads the quorum in reciting the theme and counseling together about assignments, duties, and other matters.
A quorum member or adult leader then leads gospel instruction. Quorum leaders counsel with advisers about who should teach. Meeting outlines are found in Come, Follow Me—For Aaronic Priesthood Quorums and Young Women Classes (see ComeFollowMe.ChurchofJesusChrist.org).
Normally, each Aaronic Priesthood quorum meets separately (see 10.1.5). Young men and young women may occasionally combine for a Sunday lesson, as coordinated by the bishopric and the Young Women presidency.
Young men are encouraged to participate in seminary (see 15.1).
Service and Activities
The bishopric and youth quorum leaders, supported by advisers, plan service and activities. These should help accomplish the work of salvation and exaltation. Service and activities should build testimonies, strengthen families, foster quorum unity, and provide opportunities to bless others. They should be balanced among four areas of personal growth: spiritual, social, physical, and intellectual.
Most youth activities are held at times other than on Sundays or Monday evenings. They are usually held weekly. In some areas, distance, safety, or other factors make weekly activities impractical. In these areas, activities may be held less often, but they should generally be held at least monthly. Activities can be planned on the Sample Service and Activity Planner, available on ChurchofJesusChrist.org.
Some service and activities should include both young men and young women, especially for older youth.
Youth can benefit from socializing in larger groups. The youth in two or more wards may occasionally meet together for service and activities. Stakes or districts may occasionally plan service and activities for youth (see 20.3.2).
Adult leaders help ensure that activities are safe (see safety.ChurchofJesusChrist.org; see also 20.7 in this handbook). At least two responsible adult leaders should be present at all activities (see 10.8.1).
For more information, see AaronicPriesthoodQuorums.ChurchofJesusChrist.org. See also JustServe.org where it is available. These resources provide service and activity ideas.
Annual Activities. In addition to regular youth activities, young men may also participate in the following each year:
A meeting for youth and their parents near the beginning of the year. It can be held for young men and young women separately or together. It can also be held at the ward or stake level. It is planned and led by the assistants to the bishop in the priests quorum and the presidency of the oldest Young Women class. Young men turning 12 during the year may receive their emblems of belonging during this meeting (see 10.8.3). For more information, see ChildrenandYouth.ChurchofJesusChrist.org.
An Aaronic Priesthood quorum camp (see Aaronic Priesthood Quorum Camp Guide). Young men may participate in additional overnight camps, events, and activities throughout the year, where feasible.
A ward or stake youth conference or a For the Strength of Youth (FSY) conference. For information about FSY conferences, see FSY.ChurchofJesusChrist.org. For information about ward and stake FSY callings and responsibilities, see FSYLeader.ChurchofJesusChrist.org (for the U.S. and Canada) or the FSY Planning Guide (for all other areas).
At least one activity emphasizing the standards in For the Strength of Youth. This event could include both young men and young women. Parents may also be invited.
Age Requirements. With their parents’ approval, young men may attend overnight Aaronic Priesthood camps beginning in January of the year they turn 12. They may attend dances, youth conferences, and FSY conferences beginning in January of the year they turn 14. However, they should be at least 16 before dating (see For the Strength of Youth , 4).
Paying for Activities. Activities, including supplies, are paid for by the ward budget. Travel and expenses should not be excessive.
As an exception, if the ward budget does not have enough money to pay for multiday activities, such as camps, leaders may ask participants to help pay for them. However, a young man should not be prevented from participating if he cannot help pay. If more money is still needed, the bishop may authorize one fundraising activity each year (see 20.6.5).
The bishopric ensures that the budget and activities for young men and young women are sufficient and equitable. Budget for Aaronic Priesthood quorums is based on the number of young men in the ward. Budget for the young women is based on the number of young women in the ward.
See FSY.ChurchofJesusChrist.org for information about funding for FSY conferences.
In their efforts to become more like the Savior, youth are invited to set goals to grow spiritually, socially, physically, and intellectually (see Luke 2:52). Youth seek inspiration to discover what they need to work on. With help from parents, they make plans, act on their plans, and reflect on what they learn. Leaders and advisers also offer support as needed. However, they should not track the young men’s goals or progress. Parents and leaders may suggest goals, but they allow youth to seek their own inspiration about what goals to pursue.
Youth are encouraged to complete at least two goals in each of the four areas each year. They can use Personal Development: Youth Guidebook or the Gospel Living app to set and record goals.
For more information, see ChildrenandYouth.ChurchofJesusChrist.org.
Caring for Those in Need
Aaronic Priesthood holders assist the bishop in “administering all temporal things” (Doctrine and Covenants 107:68). They should have regular opportunities to serve others in and with their families, during youth activities, and on their own. Ideas for service are available at ChildrenandYouth.ChurchofJesusChrist.org. Where it is available, JustServe.org suggests opportunities for service in the community.
Ministering is caring for others as the Savior would. Aaronic Priesthood holders receive ministering assignments beginning in January of the year they turn 14. For more information, see chapter 21.
Inviting All to Receive the Gospel
Aaronic Priesthood holders have a duty to “invite all to come unto Christ” (Doctrine and Covenants 20:59). Some ways they can do this are listed below:
Set a good example as disciples of Jesus Christ.
Share their testimonies with friends and family members.
Minister to less-active members of their quorums.
Invite friends to attend church or youth activities.
Invite friends to participate in the Children and Youth program. Leaders work closely with parents of these youth to help them understand the program and determine how they and their children would like to be involved.
Invite friends to be taught by the missionaries.
Parents and leaders encourage young men to prepare to serve full-time missions and to share the gospel throughout their lives. Some ways they can do this are listed below:
Encourage young men to gain a personal testimony of Heavenly Father’s plan of happiness, the Atonement of Jesus Christ, and the restoration of His gospel.
Teach young men about the blessings of serving missions and what will be expected of them.
Provide opportunities to serve in the Church.
Provide opportunities to teach the gospel in quorum meetings and other settings.
As part of this preparation, the bishopric or stake presidency may organize a missionary preparation class. The main resources for this class are the scriptures, Missionary Standards for Disciples of Jesus Christ, and Preach My Gospel. This class is not held during regular Sunday meetings.
Missionary.ChurchofJesusChrist.org provides additional resources that can help young men as they prepare to serve as missionaries. See chapters 23 and 24 for more information.
Uniting Families for Eternity
Aaronic Priesthood holders can help unite families for eternity in many ways. Some of these ways are listed below:
Honor their parents and set an example of Christlike living in their home.
Prepare to have their own eternal family.
Have a current temple recommend.
Prepare to receive temple ordinances, including eternal marriage.
Learn about their extended families and ancestors (see My Family: Stories That Bring Us Together).
Identify ancestors who need temple ordinances (see FamilySearch.org).
Participate in baptisms and confirmations for the dead as often as circumstances allow.
Participate in indexing (see FamilySearch.org/indexing).
Serve as temple and family history consultants, as called by the bishopric (see 25.2.4).
The bishopric is the presidency of the Aaronic Priesthood in the ward (see Doctrine and Covenants 107:13–15). They direct the work of Aaronic Priesthood quorums. The bishop’s foremost responsibility is to care for the young men and young women in his ward. He learns their names and understands their home circumstances. He attends their activities and Sunday meetings regularly.
The bishop is the president of the priests quorum. His duty “is to preside over [the] priests, and sit in council with them, to teach them the duties of their office” (Doctrine and Covenants 107:87).
The first counselor in the bishopric has responsibility for the teachers quorum. The second counselor has responsibility for the deacons quorum.
When a bishopric member attends a quorum meeting, he presides in the meeting.
The bishopric has the following additional responsibilities for Aaronic Priesthood quorums:
Mentor quorum presidencies and the bishop’s assistants in the priests quorum. Help them understand and fulfill their duties as leaders. To do this, the bishopric uses the scriptures and “Aaronic Priesthood and Young Women Class Presidency Orientation” (see AaronicPriesthoodQuorums.ChurchofJesusChrist.org). They may also use chapter 4 of this handbook.
Meet with each young man at least twice a year (see 31.3.1).
Oversee teaching in the Aaronic Priesthood quorums.
Help young men prepare to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood (see 10.6).
Oversee the records, reports, and finances of Aaronic Priesthood quorums.
Quorum advisers and specialists help with these responsibilities as requested (see 10.5).
Youth Quorum Leaders
Calling, Sustaining, and Setting Apart
The bishop calls one or two priests to be his assistants in leading the priests quorum. A member of the bishopric may also call a quorum secretary.
A member of the bishopric calls the deacons and teachers quorum presidents. When there are enough Aaronic Priesthood holders to serve, these young men prayerfully consider quorum members to recommend as counselors and a secretary. The bishopric considers their recommendations and extends the callings.
Before asking a young man to serve in any of these callings, the bishopric member asks permission from the young man’s parents.
After extending these callings, a member of the bishopric presents the youth quorum leaders for sustaining in their quorum meeting. The bishop sets apart his assistants and the deacons and teachers quorum presidents. He confers priesthood keys on the quorum presidents. He may assign his counselors to set apart other presidency members and secretaries.
A member of the bishopric announces these callings in sacrament meeting. He does not present them to be sustained.
Aaronic Priesthood quorum presidents, including the bishop, have the following responsibilities. Their counselors and the bishop’s assistants in the priests quorum share in these responsibilities.
Lead the quorum’s efforts to participate in the work of salvation and exaltation (see chapter 1).
Get to know and serve each quorum member, including those who do not attend quorum meetings. Be aware of their needs and circumstances.
Serve on the ward youth council (see 10.4.4).
Participate in ward efforts to share the gospel and strengthen new and returning members. An assistant in the priests quorum attends coordination meetings (see 23.5.7).
Participate in ward temple and family history efforts. An assistant in the priests quorum attends coordination meetings (see 25.2.7).
Teach quorum members their priesthood duties (see Doctrine and Covenants 107:85–88). Support them in fulfilling those duties.
Plan and conduct quorum meetings (see 10.2.1.2).
Plan and carry out quorum service and activities (see 10.2.1.3).
When quorum secretaries are called, they prepare agendas for meetings and take notes. They also help the ward clerk or a quorum adviser keep track of attendance.
Members of the bishopric teach the young men about their responsibilities (see 10.3). Quorum advisers should actively help (see 10.5).
Quorum Presidency Meeting
Aaronic Priesthood quorum presidencies meet regularly. The quorum president conducts these meetings. At least two adults attend—a member of the bishopric, an adviser, or a specialist. During these meetings, leaders counsel together and seek revelation about the Lord’s will for their quorum. The agenda could include discussion of the following items:
Accomplishing the work of salvation and exaltation
Serving quorum members, with special attention to supporting new members and reaching out to less-active members
Reaching out to those of other faiths and beliefs
Planning quorum meetings, service, and activities
Leadership instruction from quorum leaders or advisers
A Sample Presidency Meeting Agenda is available on ChurchofJesusChrist.org.
Ward Youth Council
The purpose of the ward youth council is to help the youth bring others to Jesus Christ and to help accomplish the work of salvation and exaltation.
The bishop presides over the ward youth council. This council’s members include:
One of the bishop’s assistants in the priests quorum, the teachers quorum president, and the deacons quorum president.
The Young Women class presidents (or the entire class presidency if the ward has just one Young Women class).
The Young Women president.
The ward youth council discusses ways to help others build testimonies, receive saving ordinances, keep covenants, and become followers of Jesus Christ (see Moroni 6:4–5). They counsel together about the needs of the young men and young women in the ward. They may discuss activities to meet these needs. However, detailed planning of activities should happen in quorum or class presidency meetings.
See 29.2.6 for more information about the ward youth council.
Advisers and Specialists
A member of the bishopric calls and sets apart men to be Aaronic Priesthood quorum advisers. These advisers support the bishopric in their responsibilities for Aaronic Priesthood quorums. They give special emphasis to mentoring the young men, teaching them how to lead by inspiration, and helping them become more like Jesus Christ. As needed and practical, more than one adviser may be called for each quorum.
The bishopric may also call quorum specialists to assist with a particular event, such as a camp, a youth conference, or sports.
At least two responsible adult men should be present at each quorum meeting and activity. Having advisers and specialists present makes it possible for bishopric members to also visit Young Women and Primary classes and activities. Advisers and specialists must complete the training at ProtectingChildren.ChurchofJesusChrist.org (see 10.8.1).
Helping Young Men Prepare to Receive the Melchizedek Priesthood
When a young man is 18 or older, he is eligible to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood and be ordained an elder if he is prepared and worthy. He counsels with his parents and the bishop to make this decision.
By age 19 or before leaving home (such as to attend college or serve in the military), he should be ordained an elder if he is worthy. Even if he is not ordained an elder by age 19, he is invited to attend elders quorum meetings.
Parents have the primary responsibility to help their sons prepare to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood. The bishopric and quorum advisers can also help by providing Aaronic Priesthood holders with experiences that will prepare them for a lifetime of service as elders. The best preparation to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood is to fulfill Aaronic Priesthood duties.
Those who receive the Melchizedek Priesthood should strive to understand:
The oath and covenant of the priesthood (see Doctrine and Covenants 84:33–44).
The duties of an elder (Doctrine and Covenants 20:38–45; 42:44; 107:11–12).
The purposes of priesthood ordinances and blessings and how to perform them (see chapter 18).
How men and women work together to accomplish God’s work.
For information about these topics, see “Melchizedek Priesthood,” “Priesthood,” and “Women in the Church” (Gospel Topics, topics.ChurchofJesusChrist.org).
The elders quorum presidency and ministering brothers can help provide this instruction. It may occur individually in young men’s homes or in a class held outside of regular Sunday meetings.
Stake Young Men Leaders
The stake presidency calls and sets apart a high councilor to be the stake Young Men president. The high council members assigned to the Young Women and Primary may be called and set apart to serve as his counselors. Or, if a stake is large enough, other Melchizedek Priesthood holders from the stake may be called as counselors. (See 6.5.)
The stake Young Men president serves under the direction of the stake presidency. He and his counselors and secretary serve on the stake youth leadership committee (see 29.3.10). He and his counselors help bishoprics by teaching them their duties for Aaronic Priesthood quorums.
A brother from the membership of the stake may be called as the stake Young Men secretary.
For more information about the responsibilities of the stake Young Men presidency and secretary, see 6.7.2 and 6.7.3.
Additional Guidelines and Policies
When adults are interacting with youth in Church settings, at least two responsible adults should be present. It may be necessary for quorums to meet together to make this possible.
All adults who work with youth must complete the children and youth protection training within one month of being sustained (ProtectingChildren.ChurchofJesusChrist.org). They repeat the training every three years thereafter.
For information about how these guidelines apply to ministering companions, see 21.2.2.
Young Men with Disabilities
Quorum leaders give special care to young men with disabilities. For information about helping these young men, see disability.ChurchofJesusChrist.org; see also 38.8.27 in this handbook.
Children and Youth Emblems
Young men receive emblems as part of the Children and Youth program. When a young man becomes a member of his first Aaronic Priesthood quorum, he receives an emblem of belonging from his quorum leaders. He also receives a copy of Personal Development: Youth Guidebook. This could be done when quorum leaders meet with him to welcome him to the quorum. It could also be done at an annual meeting for youth and their parents (see 10.2.1.3).
In January of the year a young man turns 18, he receives an additional emblem of belonging.
Young men may earn an emblem of achievement by striving to become more like the Savior.
For more information about emblems, see ChildrenandYouth.ChurchofJesusChrist.org.
Gathering Fast Offerings
In wards that are geographically concentrated, the bishop may direct Aaronic Priesthood holders to visit members each month and invite them to contribute fast offerings. In making this decision, the bishop considers the number of Aaronic Priesthood holders available, their safety, and the blessing to members who might not otherwise contribute (see 34.3.2).
Priesthood holders should go in pairs when gathering fast offerings. Those who gather fast offerings deliver them promptly to a member of the bishopric.
Members should not give other contributions, such as tithing or other offerings, to those who gather fast offerings.